Publication Date


Document Type



How much does your pet mean to you? In many American households, pets have risen from the status of possessions to the role of family members. For many people, pets have even taken the place of children or are treated as one of the children. For those of us who have pets who we love as family, it is deeply concerning when reports are issued about the dangerous chemicals or toxic levels of vitamins in their food. Reading the recall reports on a food that our dog or cat has trustingly eaten every time we place it in front of them, can hit at the very core of our hearts, leaving us—the human caretakers—feeling vulnerable and attacked because we both love our pets and know that they depend upon us for survival. Thus, finding out that what we have fed them has in actuality poisoned them makes us feel as if we have both hurt someone we love as well as neglected our moral duty to keep those who are vulnerable and depend on us for survival safe from harm. ...

This Article proposes the creation of an industry-wide system of supply chain traceability, funded by the pet food industry according to market share and overseen by the AAFCO, which is already connected to the FDA and state agencies on a voluntary basis. Lack of traceability was a key issue in the 2007 Menu Foods Recall, and the solutions that were created post-2007 still focus more on being reactive than on being proactive. Further, this Article proposes that an industry-wide stamp of quality assurance be implemented to provide pet food companies an optimal consumer communication of confidence.

Thus, this Article will address the imperative of implementing a dependable, uniform stamp of approval for the products produced by the United States pet food industry. In effect, this will be a positive step toward ensuring better quality control in the production of pet food. First, this Article will discuss problems with the current system of regulation that we have in the United States, and its lack of uniformity. Then, this Article will propose how the United States could shore up the regulatory system that is already in place by implementing a more uniform means of proactive regulation to ensure better quality of the pet food supply. This proposal will include partnering existing legislation with existing organizations and industry support to ensure that the foods produced by pet food companies meet the quality standards of food—not feed—which is the current means of regulation. Next, counterarguments to the proposed reform will be briefly discussed. Finally, this Article will conclude with how it is possible to enact the reform and why we need to do so.

Included in

Animal Law Commons